The French Parliament passed a bill on the 6th of April, 2016 which makes it illegal to pay for sex in France. Selling sex remains legal. The bill passed 64 to 12 in the National Assembly, France’s lower house, with 501 deputies abstaining from the vote.
Regional updates: Europe
In the 1980s, in response to rising HIV infections, Edinburgh City Council developed a licensed brothel system giving “saunas” public entertainment licenses knowing that sex was being sold on the premises. The local police force, Lothian and Borders Police, supported this system and would perform annual inspections on the saunas and support the renewal of their licenses.
Amendments to the public nuisance laws in Serbia, known as “Public Law and Order” laws, increased penalties for sex work related offences. Anti-sex work campaigners pushed the government to introduce amendments that would also punish the clients of sex workers. The new laws punishes everyone who disturbs ‘public order and peace’ including noisy neighbours, panhandling, burning pyrotechnic products, organising gambling, etc.
As Macedonian civil society organisation HOPS reports, sex workers in Macedonia have been awarded protection against the unlawful treatment of the police and the criminal court for the second time.
Germany is considering a new law which proposes the mandatory reigstration of sex workers and will require men to wear condoms during sex with sex workers.
The draft law is meant to protect sex workers, according to its authors.
Leeds has become the first city in the United Kingdom to have its own full-time ‘red light district’ where sex workers can legally operate, as long as they follow certain regulations.
Prior to this, sex workers in the Holbeck area of Leeds were allowed to work between the hours of 7 p.m. and 7 a.m. Following the success of the pilot project, the city decided to keep the red light district permanently.
Galina, a 28-year-old Bulgarian sex worker was found murdered in Oslo in a carpark, on the 17 of December, the International Day to End Violence Against Sex Workers. She went missing on Wednesday the 16 of December. Her friends did not go to the police but went looking for her themselves, only calling the police when they found her body the day afterward.
Seventeen representatives of sex worker organisations in South Asia, Central Asia and Eastern Europe took part in a training workshop organised by the Asia Pacific Network of Sex Workers (APNSW) in Siem Reap, Cambodia from 5-10 December, 2015. The workshop was part of series designed specifically for sex workers, to build the knowledge and ability of NSWP members to engage and work with The Global Fund mechanisms in their countries.
The Sex Workers’ Rights Advocacy Network (SWAN) and NSWP have hosted a training on sex worker advocacy and the implementation of rights-based HIV/STI programmes in Budapest, Hungary.